Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Hated Or Unpopular Films That I Love And Films That Make Me Rage.

Essentially its a list of hated films that I happen to like or love, and films that I despise. At the moment its a list but I'll add reasons to them as time passes.

Much Loved Films of Low Repute List (some are linked in some way so count as one)
1) Exorcist 2: the Heretic & Dominion: Prequel To the Exorcist - Boorman's Exorcist 2 is seen as some some of abomination. As a plot its a mess but the images throughout are beautiful, the ideas within it are progressive, and it just has this wonderful, personal quality that's missing from many films of a certain budget. Dominion was famously shelved and remade horribly with mainly the same cast. It's a lovely, imperfect film, has terrific use of sculptures, of people talking, has great odd moments - cattle attack hyena's, the northern lights appearing as a redemptive moment during an exorcism.
2) Speed Racer & The Matrix Revolutions - Two apparent disappointments. The Matrix Revolutions went away from what was seen as the focus of the series, did have some annoying characters. The wonders it had was an underground city under siege, suggesting Bosch if he had drawn giant robots, a machine city and infra-structure that was genuinely alien, a beautiful, visually arresting final fight that's about how useless the fighting is. It was a very ambiguous, under-rated film. Speed Racer is a cheerful, split-screen crazy family film, with silly kid gags and fun chases. It also has a great sense of its own childish world, can slip in and out of character fantasies with ease - done as crude visuals they way a child would imagine, has a villain who's cartoon nasty and over-the-top.
3) The Black Dahlia & Mission To Mars - Two Brian DePalma films, both odd, eccentric, neither of them getting much respect. Black Dahlia is a wonderfully baroque version of a terrific book, which highlights the twisted humour and darkness below Ellroy and DePalma. Mission To Mars is an optimistic, almost naive space film, which is unusual in this cynical time. It has an amazing space death scene. Neither are perfect but have moments of great beauty.
4) Marie Antoinette & One From The Heart - The two Coppola apparent messes that are very similar, attempting to act out against the genre worked within. Marie Antoinette is a biopic that sticks to an interior view of the central character, modernisms throughout creating a mood to explain character, emerging from the energy of people interacted with, as well as central character. It ignores the stodgy elements of a typical biopic that insists that it knows everything about the subject. A very inventive film. One From The Heart is a downbeat musical, a visual style that is part early eighties excess, part impressionistic 30's style film. Its a blue collar love story done on a massive budget. It has a distinctive world.
5) Hulk, Batman Returns & Superman Returns - Hulk and Batman Returns are easily my favourite comic book films. Hulk's use of split-screen to suggest emotion is wonderful, displayed against quiet, tortured performances and wonderful 50's style backdrops. The moment when Banner finally remembers the death of his mother and turns into Hulk is a stunner. A beautiful film. Batman Returns is full-on Gothic melodrama, every character tortured, on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There are wonderful moments throughout, from character -any time Keaten and Pfieffer are together- to imagery -an army of Penguins attacking the city. The end is wonderful, tragic but not over-done. Superman Returns is a lovely film. It's mood is quiet yet genuinely pulpy, is essentially about a god trying to interact with people. Its not perfect but does have interesting images and mood throughout.
6) Interview With The Vampire & Cat People remake - Interview With the Vampire is a film that has no real story, save a depressed vampire telling the episodic story of his life. But the atmosphere is stunning, the characters odd and twisted, the tragedy slowly developing, so its an unusual success. It really shouldn't work, is based on a bad novel. Schrader's Cat People remake is more flawed, does not have a real narrative drive that keeps you engaged but does have wonderful red images, a truly strange romance (like Vampire) and the longing of damned creatures. It also has a very twisted ending that no studio will allow for now.
7) Heaven's Gate & Alien 3: Extended Cut - Heaven's Gate is a long, long notorious film. It can be quite boring at times. It destroyed a studio. It is also beautiful, has doomed characters in a situation that they cannot win. It's about the poor being taken apart methodically by the rich. It's a very stately film that many may find claustrophobic. Alien 3 was also a disaster when released. The DVD extended cut is clearer, has pace focused on images creating a world through framing, the world placed in front of the viewer very specific and old, almost dead in people's eyes before the Alien comes to finish them off. This is about a group of madmen within a doomed world. It's not at all scary in a conventional sense but is a beautiful horror film.
8) Sorcerer & To Live And Die In LA - Two Friedken films. One is a remake of the masterpiece Wages Of Fear. It's not as good as that but does have a great sense of men on a doomed mission in a trapped, awful world. has a great bridge sequence and a terrific Roy Schieder performance. To Live And Die In LA is about secret service agents hunting down money forgers. It's all mood, nasty characters, intense chases and horrific twists. Both of these films are about their worlds more than character as Friedken is want to do. But they're great despite what critics say.
9) Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (sequel to the original) & The Keep - Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is a very funny film. The Keep is a very serious film. Both are very strange. Texas 2 essentially has Dennis Hopper fighting Leatherface with a chainsaw, is a parody of the food industry, is a parody of love stories (Leatherface falls in love), is essentially a parody of everything. Its really excessive and is wonderful. The Keep is a Michael Mann fascist allegory from the eighties, with Ian McKellen as an elderly Jewish scholar and Gabriel Byrne as a nazi. Its got a monster made out of light, lots of stunning atmosphere shots, is out of its mind as a narrative. But its just so beautiful and odd that it's irresistible.
10) Pistol Whipped, Belly Of the Beast & Into The Sun - I love late era Seagal movies. So sue me. I need something to double-bill with Bela Tarr. Honestly, they are a lot of fun.

Hateful films for me, whose idiocies anger me even at the thought of them. I could rant about any of these films for a very long time. So that's a warning to you all.
1) A Very Long Engagement & Alien Resurrection - Of all the films, these two annoy me most. A Very Long Engagement makes World War 1 trench warfare look pretty (which is immoral) then uses it for a thriller plotline (which is pretty suspect when you know the reality) and romance (yes, trench warfare). One of the most offensive films ever made. Alien Resurrection is really stupid. A film so bad and devoid of ideas, tension, taste, pacing, acting, that I actually prefer those tacky Alien V Predator films to it. Obviously, not a good sign.
2) Meet Joe Black, Night And The City & Assault On Precinct 13 remakes -Three remakes. All are dull. Meet Joe Black is utterly awful, lasting for three hours of dripping torture. Yep. I saw this in the cinema. Night And The City has the same problems but is shorter but has the first really lifeless DeNiro performance, an omen of things to come (so it counts for a lot of late era DeNiro films). Assault remakes one of my favourite films, taking out all the character & tension, replacing it with lots of action, a needlessly complicated plot and not one moment of visual grace. Shameful. (Note, after this one I have avoided the other remakes of John Carpenter films)
3) The Lady In The Water , The Fountain & A Life Less Ordinary- These are films that should have some merit, have an idea that could make a good film but just are stupid in plot, character and in basic development. The Fountain is the most annoying in that it has some good visuals but seems written by a learning disabled twelve year old.
4) Transformers & Robocop 3 - Its essentially the same stupid film but one has a budget and one doesn't. You'll feel like slitting the wrists of the person sitting next to you after viewing.
5) The Lover - Chief crime, beyond pacelessness, is shooting sex really badly. When I'm praying for a sex scene to be over, it's not good. A film that will inspire the thought, the hell with this, I'm off to watch Showgirls. Yes, Showgirls actually has better acting and story. (You may need to read that sentence a few times)
6) The Great Escape- Just kidding. I love that movie. But I hated The Passion Of The Christ, which is the real entry. What's that one got to do with Jesus? I simply saw nothing uplifting about it. Hence The Great Escape. Now that's a film to lift your spirits.
7) The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen & Entrapment - The obligatory Sean Connery "oh god shoot me now" entry. Could make a much longer list but these two are really stupid, utterly lacking in any entertainment value.
8) Spawn & Ghost Rider - Comic book films where the assumption is that you're such a complete moron that you won't notice the same effect move again and again (like seventies sci-fi but without the retro charm), or that no cut really matches, even in simple two-shots. Or you are fighting a losing battle working out if there's a plot. Essentially I recommend vomiting after viewing. If there was a way to make your eyes vomit after watching these two, I would make an attempt, simply to kill the pus-filled infection that probably lies below my lids following viewing.
9) The Hills Have Eyes 2 (Sequel to the original. Yes its confusing. Haven't seen the remake's sequel.) & Saw - They're stupid, sadistic, terrible. Enough said, except they're worse that all others of their kind.
10) Be Cool and Battlefield Earth - The obligatory Travolta entry. Left the worst for last. Battlefield Earth is stupefying. A film with so many plot insanities that your jaw is askew for over two hours. A film that killed the career of most cast members. Not one thing makes sense in this film. I haven't seen a Uwe Boll film but I'd be surprised if he can top this mess. Be Cool is no day at the beach either.

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